If not for the helicopters, the fancy cars and the Kardashians, some might say it didn’t really seem like summer in the Hamptons this year. However, as the unofficial end approaches with Labor Day weekend, many have expressed relief at the cooler temperatures that characterized the 2014 beach season.
“It’s definitely cooler than it’s ever been, but I’m a big fan,” said East Hampton resident Lauren Stern while strolling in the village on Friday. She said that she spent a lot of time at the beach this summer with her newborn and enjoyed the cooler breezes.
“It’s been perfect,” said Shelley Solomon, coming off a Sagaponack beach on Sunday. “I think it’s been beautiful. I wish it could be like this always.
Despite what some people might think, National Weather Service Meteorologist David Stark said that the summer of 2014 has not been extraordinarily cool—but it has been unique. He explained that the refreshingly lower daytime temperatures were balanced by higher-than-average nighttime temperatures, making it only seem like the summer that never was.
“I think some of it may be perception, because we haven’t had a summer like this in several years,” Mr. Stark said. “We haven’t seen similar conditions to this recently.”
Daytime temperatures have been cooler than average in June, July and August, but with above-normal nighttime temperatures in June and July factored in, there’s been little difference from years past, at least statistically.
“Daytime temperatures in June and July never got above 80, but nighttime temperatures were in the upper 60s and 70s, a little above,” Mr. Stark said. “When you average everything out, it’s really close to average.”
August was a different story. Overnight temperatures in the month of the “dog days” were cooler than usual, according to Mr. Stark, in addition to the daytime temperatures being milder. “For the past month, we’ve been running below-average temperatures,” he said. “Overall, the last 20 days have been cooler than average. For the month of August so far, it’s been about a degree and a half below normal, temperature-wise.”
Mr. Stark said that the extended above-average daytime temperatures in seasons past gave the impression that those were really hot summers overall, and that this summer has been unusually cool in comparison.
“Last July, we ran over 4 degrees above normal for the month itself,” Mr. Stark said of the daytime temperatures in the summer of 2013. “We had seven days of 90 degrees or higher. We just haven’t seen anything to that degree this summer.
“In many cases, we haven’t actually had a 90-degree day in August. Usually, there’s been at least one or two. The last time that happened was in 2004, that we didn’t have an actual recorded 90-degree day.”
The warmer nights this summer can be attributed to the ocean, according to Thomas Downs, a meteorologist at the Manhattan-based consulting firm WeatherBell Analytics, LLC. “This year, especially in June, it was the warmer water temperatures off the coast,” he said. “Water temperatures hit 70 degrees earlier in the summer. You push that warmer water in and you get warmer, stickier nights with higher humidities.”
The long-term weather forecast calls for unseasonably higher temperatures in September and October, according to WeatherBell.
“The fall should actually be a little bit warmer than usual for most of the eastern United States,” Mr. Downs said, adding that the region is in for a cooler-than-normal winter, but it is not expected to be as cold as last year’s.
“We’re expecting an active nor’easter season, with more snow closer to New York City and more rain on the East End of Long Island,” he said.